Note from the Editors







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Integrating the Shadow

I was a bird in the hand of God.

I was two in the bush,

the yin to my own yang, yang to yin,
drinking gin on the porch at midnight,
or otherwise drinking tea – you see

how it is – Bach on Tuesdays – Thursdays
acid rock, tie-dyed t-shirts and jeans.
Mornings I fed the needy and blessed
their souls with sticky kisses.
I sang to them and lotioned their feet
with lilac cream and peppermint oil,
humbled by their poverty, inspired
by the way they got out of bed
without cigarettes or coffee.
Afternoons I cursed their lazy
asses and stepped over them
in the streets on my way to the pub
seeking a little warmth or a quiet corner
in which to ponder the implication
of lips on brass, to dance, unmolested,
with my own shadow,
which was my worst enemy,
and, conspicuously, my only friend.

I was a bird in the hand of God.

I was two in the bush.

I was a pair of white pants in a drive
by puddle splash, a drunk with beer down
the front of my shirt. I was ketchup
on my own sleeve, a rash on an otherwise
clear face, a tainted, defiled disaster,
stained by life, soiled and damn near effaced
by that often unrecognizable prankster,
my troublemaker, my doppelganger,
that saucy vamp, grace

Melissa Studdard
is the author of the best­selling novel Six Weeks to Yehi­dah (recipient of  the Forward National Literature Award) and the newly released My Yehidah. She is also, with Scott Lutz, co-author of For the Love of All, which is the fifth story in the Mark Miller’s One series, and which debuted in the number one spot for Hot New Releases in Literary Criticism and Theory in the Amazon Kindle store. Her poetry, fiction, essays, reviews, and articles have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Boulevard, Connecticut Review, Pleiades, Gradiva, American Book Review, Poets and Writers, and The Smoking Poet. She currently serves as a Reviewer-at-Large for The National Poetry Review, an editorial advisor for Lapis Lazuli Journal of The Harold Pinter Society of India, and a contributing editor for both The Criterion and Tiferet. As well, she is the host of Tiferet’s radio interview program, Tiferet Talk, which interviews writers and spiritual and religious leaders. A collection of these interviews, The Tiferet Talk Interviews, will be released by Tiferet Press this spring.

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